My first desktop computer didn’t have a hard drive. My first system that did came with a whopping 40MB of storage.

We’ve come a long way since then. You can buy terabytes of storage for under a hundred bucks. Still, it’s kind of mind-boggling that Seagate has announced it’s begun shipping samples of its first 8TB hard drive.

At this point samples are only going out to enterprise customers. But we could see 3.5 inch, 8TB drives on the market in the not-too-distant future. Sure, they won’t be as speedy as a good solid state drive. But if you’ve got a lot of data to store, nothing beats a hard drive in terms of price-per-gigabyte at this point.

8tb

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20 replies on “Lilbits (7-21-2014): Are you ready for 8TB hard drives?”

  1. Not sure if 3TB is the size where you get most storage for your money..
    3TB WD Red cost here 110EUR..
    6TB WD60EFRX cost here 245 EUR..
    2*110 = 220 EUR..
    makes a difference of 25 EUR..
    We pay here 0,3 EUR per kWh..
    if I take the GB per kWh in account for the average life time of the HDD (300.000 hours they usually live in my environment)
    that’s 300.000 * 0,3 * 0,004 = 360 EUR for power consumption over the years…
    So for 2 3TB I’d have to pay 600EUR (they use a little bit less power)
    and for a 6TB I’d have to pay 360 EUR over the years..

    Now do the math:
    600 + 220 = 820 EUR for two 3TB WD30EFRX drives
    or 245+360 = 605 EUR for one 6TB WD60EFRX drive..

    No way the 3TB is cheaper!

  2. Oh noes! Hard drive advertorial with nostalgia angle.
    Remember when you had to use your fingers to count stuff?
    meh.

    Oh and Seagate already talked about this last year. Not sure what’s prompting this refresh.

  3. I still have my cassette tape drive for my C=64. Stores 100kb per 30 minutes of tape. I guess there has been a bit of bloat since. I remember thinking I would never fill my 20MB Mac HDD…

    1. Ditto. I’d load a game, make a beer run, and hopefully it was ready to go when I returned!
      Didn’t Gates say we’d never need more than 500 MB?

  4. A PC Magazine article spotlighting a company that uses lots of
    hard disks (I think they were in the cloud storage business).

    The company’s spokesperson say that Seagate was the least
    reliable hard drive mfr (the co. uses many different brands, of
    course all these brands are now only made by either Seagate
    or WD). The brands, from most reliable to least, were Hitachi,
    WD, Seagate. At the time the article was written, the Hitachis
    were not yet transitioned over to WD. If memory serves, the
    company reported around a 9% annual failure rate (if that seems
    high, I think it was because the drives were always running).

    I really wish the drive makers made their products more reliable.
    Yeah, the storage amount is way up, but the number of models
    with 5 year warranties is way down.

    1. So HDD makers aren’t at least maintaining reliability as size increases? I assume the HDDs were enterprise models. I wonder if the comparitive reliability can be translated to consumer models (ie. the consumer models are all equally as bad).

      1. No, cloud storage companies mostly do not buy enterprise drives. They prefer to settle the reliability issue with masses of redundant, cheap drives, rather than fewer expensive drives with a marginally lower chance of early failure and still guaranteed chance of eventual failure.

        Their systems have to be built with drive failure in mind no matter, so the cheap drives end up the more cost efficient.

        The cloud storage company who did this study was explaining the drives in detail and they were all consumer drives. The Hitachi (IBM) drives were the least prone to failure / lasted the longest. Seagate was worst hands down.

        Which is no surprise when you look at their decades long history of continuing to sell drives they knew had a problem. Sort of like the GM ignition key problems – just gloss over the issue, likely most people will just suck it up and buy another drive on their own money.

    2. yeah, not to mention Seagate selling completely different drives under the same SKU: one 30% slower with 3 platters, while the faster one had 2 platters, and guess which one they sent to reviewers…

  5. Well we’ve had 4TB and 6TB drives for a while, but still 3TB is the size where you get the most storage for your money, here’s hoping this changes that.

    1. I just checked my local MemoryExpress for their prices – all these drives are Seagate drives. 1TB drives are $54.99/each and 3TB drives are $114.99 each (Canadian $). That’s 3x3TB drives for 9TB at $344.97 or 9x$54.99 for $494.91 going the single drive route. 4TB drives in a USB 3.0 enclosure go for $149.99 each. So two of them give me 8TB for $299.98. There’s no mention of 6TB drives on their site but they have a 5TB in an enclosure for $204.99 each so two of those yields 10 TB for $409.98. I’m confused now…

    2. Sorry I posted this wrong! It was meant as reply to someone stating 3TB is still the most for your money, which is simply put: only right for people who don’t do the math properly.

      Not sure if 3TB is the size where you get most storage for your money..
      3TB WD Red cost here 110EUR..
      6TB WD60EFRX cost here 245 EUR..
      2*110 = 220 EUR..
      makes a difference of 25 EUR..
      We pay here 0,3 EUR per kWh..
      if I take the GB per kWh in account for the average life time of the HDD (300.000 hours they usually live in my environment)
      that’s 300.000 * 0,3 * 0,004 = 360 EUR for power consumption over the years…
      So for 2 3TB I’d have to pay 600EUR (they use a little bit less power)
      and for a 6TB I’d have to pay 360 EUR over the years..

      Now do the math:
      600 + 220 = 820 EUR for two 3TB WD30EFRX drives
      or 245+360 = 605 EUR for one 6TB WD60EFRX drive..

      No way the 3TB is cheaper!

      1. Sorry, I’m in the UK where comma is a thousands separator, decimal point is a full stop. Do you honestly get three hundred thousand hours out of your hard drives? That’s 34 years! Sure over that long the bigger drives pay for themselves but at the same time if you wait 5 years we’ll have 20TB drives and you’ve saved 5 years of power.

        Anyway, over here power is more like £0.10 per kwh so less of a consideration, and hard drives are expected to live about 5 years. Let’s say that’s 50k hours and a drive takes 10W, a bargain basement 3TB drive is £75 and a similar 6TB drive is £195. That’s £45 difference, the electricity saving for one drive instead of two is £50. That’s not the only factor though since cutting edge drives are more likely to die early due to bugs, availability is more limited, and prices fluctuate due to a lack of competition. Overall it’s pretty close but I’d take short term savings since you can throw the saved money at solar power and whatever else.

  6. I still don’t trust putting that much data on ONE drive. I have several 1TB drives (most are in external USB 3.0 cases). Yes you have to be a little organized to know what’s where but I’d rather lose 1TB of data in one go than anything greater than that. But that’s just me. 8TB is beyond crazy to me unless I had it mirrored on another 8TB drive.

    1. Ya, if I had an 8 TB drive, I’d keep a backup on another 8 TB drive. Of course, I’d do the same for 8 1 TB drives.

      I’ve been considering using Btrfs in order to make use of its self healing features in addition to mirrored backups.

      1. Or since mirroring somewhat increases the chance of simultaneous drive failures why not use RAID 5… except then a rebuild has a chance of hitting an unrecoverable read error (roughly one every 10TB), so RAID 6. While we’re at it we might as well use ZFS

          1. “mirroring” in my mind always says RAID 1 i.e. actively keep two disks in sync forever, instead of taking a copy once in a while then moving that copy far away. However, point taken, only backup protects from fires, user error etc.

    2. Pretty much.

      Lately i have been pondering using some kind of multi-disc Blu-Ray setup for things that don’t need to be changed often. Set up so that if crap hits the fan each disc can be extracted and read in any random BR drive.

      Thing for me is that ever since we moved away from floppies or optical as bulk storage, there has been a circuit board attached to the data. Meaning that if said board fails, the data is pretty much gone.

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